Sometimes, the schedule doesn't go as planned. Actually, that's frequently the case when Camping With Ian, but that's part of the allure, I'd say. In 2004 Ian and I decided to switch from Pillsbury State Park to Umbagog Lake State Park, mostly due to the size of the lake. At 10.4 miles long and almost 2 miles wide in places, Umbagog Lake comes out at 7,850 acres. Rather a substantial amount of water.
All was going well with reservations in place for Remote site number 25. Ian picked me up at work at around 4:00pm and we went north. We arrived at the camp at 7:00pm.
That was when things started to get interesting.
There was a northerly wind; a very strong northerly wind. Little did we know that as the years went by we'd get to know that wind all too well. But on this night, our first visit to Umbagog we had rather a lot of waves, and we had no idea what the scale of the lake really was. It was approximately 7 miles to our campsite, and we had a canoe (recalling that we arrived at the lake at 7:00pm).
Well, sanity not being part of the equation, we loaded the canoe and set off, getting into the water at around 7:30pm, and we paddled as hard as we could. I'd never seen a canoe get bow spray before, that was a new one on me; we were hitting whitecaps hard enough for actual bow spray. We covered the distance in under two hours even with the headwind.
Trouble was, while we had managed to get to the rough area of the campsite, it was pitch black out by this point.
How did we find the camp? Ian had packed a million candlepower Coleman flashlight. It was a good thing too. No matter that I had managed to navigate an unknown lake for seven miles in the dusk (then dark) with a map that wasn't to scale and a small flashlight, we had no idea where to land. With those million candlepower at our disposal we did finally manage to locate the landing for the campsite. An hour later we had the site set up, and we crashed.
That was our introduction to Umbagog Lake.